UNICEF Urges Nigeria To Maximise Exclusive Breast Feeding
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) yesterday said out of seven million children born every year in Nigeria, only four million are breastfed in the first hour of birth.
This, UNICEF said, fell below the 50 percentage target of global standard for exclusive breastfeeding.
The UNICEF Representative, Ms Chizoba Steve-Edemba, disclosed this in Abuja at the occasion to host first babies of the year from 2012 to 2021.
The programme was organised by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs as part of activities to mark the 2021 World Breastfeeding Week.
“Sadly, despite these super benefits, four million of the seven million children born every year in Nigeria are not breastfed in the first hour of birth.
“While we have seen the rate of children exclusively breastfed for six month increase from 17 to 29 per cent, we are still significantly below the 50 per cent target set by the World Health Assembly for 2025 as well as the SDGs in 2030.
“In the FCT, approximately one out of every two infants is not exclusively breastfed from birth up till six months of age,” she said.
Steve-Edemba described breast milk as the first vaccine that completes brain development and a smart investment in child development.
She, however, said that limited family planning policies in the country remained a major barrier to optimal exclusive breastfeeding.
She, therefore, stressed the need to invest in interventions that protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
She mentioned such interventions as six months paid maternity leave nationwide, scaling-up exclusive breastfeeding campaign on zero water and building capacity of health workers to support breastfeeding mothers.
Also, Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said the theme of the week, “Support Breastfeeding: A shared Responsibility” was to reminds stakeholders to redouble their efforts in promoting exclusive breastfeeding.
Tallen said that in spite of the benefits of breastfeeding for the first six months of life, the practice was still low in Nigeria due to some myth associated with it.
“It is sad to note that despite the benefits of breastfeeding for the first six months of life, the practice remains low in Nigeria.
“I am aware that the myths about breast feeding still persist in some communities where the colostrum, the first milk produced by the mother, is considered unclean, hence expressed and thrown away.
“Some families mistakenly believe that additional water for infants is necessary for life, quenches thirst, relives pain, prevents cold, and or soothes the infant.
“These practices are inimical to the health and total well-being of the child,” she said.
The minister, therefore, called on employers to set up Day Care Centres in work environments to support working mothers engage in exclusive breastfeeding and for optimal service delivery.
The Country Representation, United Nations Population Fund, Ms Ulla Mueller, stressed the need to fundamentally address the high rate of maternal mortality in the country to ensure that mothers were alive to breastfeed their babies.
Speaking on behalf of the parents, Mrs Kikelomo Badejo, stressed the importance of breastfeeding for both mother and the development of the child, as well as to reduce risks of diseases and infections.
Other highlight of the event was the distribution of gift items to the first babies of year between 2012 and 2021 and their parents.
Gift items such as educational materials, play toys, food items, among others were given to the children.
NSCDC Commissions New Commands In Kebbi, Sokoto
Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has set up new command posts in Kebbi and Sokoto States to boost staff performance, security and better protect critical national infrastructure in the states.
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who commissioned the two commands, said Federal Government would not relent in ensuring the protection of citizens at all times by providing the necessary supports, and logistics needed to maintain the current tempo of development to ensure effective discharge of the Corps core mandates
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore, Aregbesola stated that the Federal Government was dedicated to continuously support the Corps to enhance performance and boost national security.
According to a statement signed by the agency’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Olusola Odumosu, the minister also tasked personnel in the two states to live up to the mandate of the agency and exhibit the highest level of discipline in their conduct.
He further charged the personnel to “abstain from rancor and unnecessary rivalry and ensure effective synergy with military and all other law enforcement agencies”.
Aregbesola commended the leadership of the Corps for the tremendous transformation witnessed within the last two years as he further attributed it to the doggedness, determination, pragmatic approach and readiness of personnel to impact positively on the nation’s security.
Present at the event were governors of the two states; Atiku Bagudu of and Aminu Tambuwal who were both represented.
NAWOJ Partners FH1360 To Boost Maternal, Infant Nutrition
The Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Lagos State Chapter, in collaboration with FH1360/Alive and Thrive Project hosted an interactive media round table aimed at promoting maternal, infant and young child nutrition, with an intervention of reducing the total number of anemia and all deficiencies related to mother and child.
Chairperson, NAWOJ, Lagos State, Adeola Ekine, said the initiative was focused on improved reporting of maternal nutrition coverage in journalism.
She added that the annual event provides insight on illnesses affecting children and mothers and their possible solutions
The Lagos State team Lead, Alive and Thrive, Olawunmi Ajayi, who spoke extensively on Maternal, Infant and young child nutrition (MIYCN), noted that Nigeria loses about 2313 children daily translating to 844,321, children death annually, half of which are due to malnutrition.
“You don’t have to spend a lot on trying to impress people about your feeding habit you just have to make sure you are providing and feeding a well-balanced diet.
Association Seeks Humanitarian Affairs Minister Portfolio
The Nigeria Association of Social Workers (NASoW) has advised President Bola Tinubu to appoint a qualified social worker as Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
This is contained in a congratulatory message signed by its Publicity Secretary, Musliudeen Adebayo, and made available to newsmen in Ibadan yesterday.
The Tide source reports that NASoW, the umbrella body of social workers in the country was founded in 1975.
The President of NASow, Alhaji Mashood Mustapha, congratulated Tinubu on his swearing-in ceremony as the 16th President of Nigeria.
Mustapha said that the appointment of a social worker who had the requisite knowledge and skills to paddle the affairs of the ministry would promote the humanitarian agenda.
He said that appointing a NASoW member as Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development was in the interest of the nation.
Mustapha said that the ministry had core mandate to promote social work and quality social services delivery in the country.
He said that the association was ready and fully prepared to work with the new administration to achieve its aim in all areas of human development.
He said that the call for the appointment was as a result of the ministry’s strategic importance to the welfare of citizens, which is the main goal of this administration.
The NASoW president said that one of the association’s achievements during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari was the signing of the Nigerian Council for Social Work (NCSW) Establishment Act 2022.
Mustapha encouraged Tinubu to set another record by appointing a qualified social worker as minister for humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development.
He said that the association was anxiously waiting for the time when NCSW would be constituted.
“We are using this medium to congratulate our new President Bola Tinubu on his emergence as the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We appeal to him to appoint a social worker as the minster for humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development. This is our ministry; it is the main ministry for social workers
“We advise the president to put a round peg in a round hole for the betterment of the country,” he said.
Mustapha enjoined the president to appoint a minister, who had the required knowledge of social work as they expected the minister to constitute the NCWS board as soon as possible.
“The Nigerian Council for Social Work (Establishment) Act 2022 has been gazetted. Our law has become an Act of Parliament.
“This implies that a lot of good things are coming for the good people of Nigeria. The council is yet to be constituted.
“When this is done, it will help to give more recognition to social work practice in Nigeria,” he said.
He said that the establishment of NCSW would create job opportunities and enabling environment for social workers to provide the much desired quality social services to the people.
Mustapha said that it would also reduce migration of social workers to other countries in quest for prosperity.